© Copyright – 2022 – Athletics Illustrated
Unlike the Russians, the Kenyans are genuinely concerned about the potential ban to the entire country in the sport of athletics. While the Russians carried out systematic doping, Kenyan athletes who dope, do so on the recommendation of fellow athletes, coaches, and agents or on their own.
Athletics Kenya is pleading for an alternative.
The anticipation of the Tuesday meeting in Monaco has given Athletics Kenya the opportunity to plead its case in the court of public opinion and in direct communication with World Athletics president Sebastian Coe.
Coe praised the Kenyan government’s apparent action plan in the fight against doping.
“I welcome the additional resources provided by the Government of Kenya in the fight against doping.”
He also said that the only way the county can reduce the magnitude of this problem is through the collective commitment of all sports stakeholders in Kenya.
Coe’s commentary may boost Kenya’s hope of avoiding the potential ban ahead of the World Athletics, Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) meeting on Tuesday this week in Monaco.
However, Kenyan doping is a raging dumpster fire and has been for at least a decade. The doping is so pervasive that only the Russians with their systematic doping program are worse. Approximately 30 Kenyans have been suspended in 2022. This is unprecedented. Approximately 70 athletes are serving, or are provisionally suspended at this time.
In September 2022, the AIU added seven countries to its watch list as rated Category-A, meaning, at a risk for doping. Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. Kenya is on that list.
According to the publication, “Athletics News,” a senior official speaking anonymously knows that a Kenyan ban “has already been agreed to.”
The publication wrote: Our source, a senior official at Athletics Kenya, on condition of anonymity request told Athletics.co.ke, “From where I seat and the information am getting directly from AIU top officials, it’s a done case.” We are at their mercies as from now and we should prepare ourselves for the worse which is being suspended for a minimum of two years or a maximum of three years so that we can put our house in order,” he said.
The senior official said that there are many top elite athletes that AIU is on their radar and soon they will be unmasked and this will be the end of their running careers.
“Many athletes and the country at large will be affected and it will be an expensive affair that will cost jobs and many lives will be affected directly and indirectly,” he added.
The question on everyone’s mind is, who are these top athletes?
Kenyans calling out Kenyans
First, it was former marathon great Tegla Laroupe and then Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba calling out fellow countrymen for doping, Julius Yego, the Kenyan javelin great has also called out dopers from within Kenya.
Yego was speaking with BBC Sport Africa on November 22, when he said, “Whoever is indulging in these drugs should be ashamed of himself or herself. We should raise our voices and create awareness. If we do not speak up, then we are going [down] a very dangerous path. Then Kenya will be nowhere in athletics.”
Kenyans calling out foreign coaches and agents
In April 2015, Athletics Kenya suspended Rosa Associati, an agency that represented more than 30 world-class athletes. The purpose was to run an apparent six-month doping investigation. This all came on the heels of the famous Rita Jeptoo positive drug test.
Jeptoo had won the Boston, Paris, Chicago, Stockholm, and Milan marathons. She “won” Boston three times and Chicago twice, but was disqualified for her 2014 wins at Boston and Chicago due to a positive test.
Six months later, Rosa Associati terminated agent Claudio Berardelli, stating that three of his athletes tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Or what was unsaid was either AK demanded Frederico Rosa do something or Rosa, in a desperate act of self-preservation, threw Berardelli under the proverbial bus. Either way, he was the fall guy and Jeptoo’s agent.
In 2013, Athletics Kenya’s president Isaiah Kiplagat blamed foreign coaches for the doping issues instead of taking responsibility. He announced that all non-registered coaches have one week to leave Kenya. He was partially correct in his assertions.
During the summer of 2018, the first WADA-approved laboratory in Nairobi was set up. It was a move hailed as a major development for the region’s doping crisis.
The meeting between the AIU, WA, WADA and Athletics Kenya has been moved to Tuesday, November 29, from the original date published of Friday, Nov. 25.
The fallout may be catastrophic for Kenyan dopers and enablers.